Debt distress

Egypt: When the Gulf countries buy up the crown jewels

By Hossam Rabie, in Cairo

Premium badge Reserved for subscribers

Posted on August 1, 2022 14:12

 Traders at the Cairo stock exchange in September 2019. © REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
Traders at the Cairo stock exchange in September 2019. © REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

In April, Egypt announced the sale of nearly $40bn in assets over four years to try to revive an economy in crisis. Several Gulf countries have jumped at the opportunity and have already spent some $20bn on the acquisition of public assets for sale.

This is an opportunity for these investors to grab the most profitable public companies and assets. But within the government, the operation is causing great concern.

On 3 July, the Egyptian parliament, all of whose members support President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, approved an agreement signed in late March between the Egyptian and Saudi governments. This is supposed to facilitate the Saudi Public Investment Fund’s (PIF) purchase of Egyptian assets. This new agreement comes after trade between the two countries jumped by 62.1% in 2021. It reached $8.7bn in 2021 compared to $5.4bn in 2020, according to the Egyptian Statistics Agency.

The green light from parliament comes a few days after the Abu Dhabi Ports Group announced the acquisition of 70% of the Egyptian holding company International Associated Cargo Carrier – which owns the shipping companies Transmar and Transcargo – for Dh514m

There's more to this story

Get unlimited access to our exclusive journalism and features today. Our award-winning team of correspondents and editors report from over 54 African countries, from Cape Town to Cairo, from Abidjan to Abuja to Addis Ababa. Africa. Unlocked.

Subscribe Now

cancel anytime